30 December 2007
Pearled Spelt Risotto.
I hate to brag. I really, really do. But ever so often I make something that I think, 'I would pay to eat this in a restaurant!'...and tonights dinner fit that bill.
When in London in October, G and I made our pilgrimage like all good food-folk to the Borough Market. There, the Sharpham Park booth called out to our little upset stomach's, like a lighthouse in the fog. I have been very interested in trying pearled spelt, and they had cute little bags that I thought would make a good souvenir, so of course, I bought some and have yet to do anything with it.
Let me backpedal for a sec... last year, I was going fairly regularly to an acupuncturist who was near my work. She performed acupuncture that made such a huge difference to my overall wellbeing that I was a bit loathe to quit a job I had right near her office for a job clear across town. In any event, one of the things that the acupuncturist recommended was to start taking digestive enzymes and to cut back on the wheat. I did those things, as well as the acupuncture, and I truly felt better. (In fact, it's a New Year's Resolution of mine to call next week and make an appointment for a consultation with this doctor and to get back in the swing of it.)
Anyway, at that time, I did cut back on wheat, and ate lots of spelt-y things, and so was eager to try the pearled spelt when it presented itself. So in G and my quest to eat at home more often, and more healthfully, I embarked on some Pearled Spelt Risotto with mushrooms... and I will do so again because it was DYN-O-MITE!
This picture totally cracks me up because it is truly the state of my recent cooking adventures. Laptop open and on sitting on the kitchen counter in the midst of all the rubble, exactly where a proper cookbook should be!
Anyway, the recipe... I borrowed the basics for making the spelt from the Sharpham Park website, and modified it a bit for my needs...
1 cup pearled spelt
8 cups water
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
butter, to taste
1/2 cup chopped shallots (divided in two)
2 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
2/3 cup white wine (+ 2 tablespoons)
2 cups chicken broth
freshly grated Parmesano Reggiano cheese
Soak the pearled spelt in cold water 20 minutes. Drain; rinse. Bring 8 cups water to boil in medium saucepan. Add 1/2 cup oil and the pearled spelt. Simmer 20 minutes. Drain in strainer and rinse.
Clean and slice mushrooms while spelt is soaking. Heat up a small amount of oil in a medium sized skillet, put in 1/2 of the finely diced onion. Cook for about a minute, then put in mushrooms. After the mushrooms have started to soften, put in a splash of the white wine. Cook until the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms and onions start to get sticky and golden.
Put a little bit of oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions; sauté 1 minute. Add pearled spelt and wine. Simmer until almost all liquid evaporates, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Add chicken broth 1 cup at a time and simmer until liquid is absorbed each time. After the third helping of liquid (1 wine and 2 chicken broths), stir in the mushroom mixture. Let the liquid continue to evaporate. This should take about 15 minutes or so. Taste the risotto to make sure spelt is soft. Stir in cheese and butter. Season with salt and pepper.
Really very easy, if not a little time-consuming. But a thoroughly enjoyable dinner that G and I both loved.